Congratulations! You are now sort of half-way through your response papers for the trimester. Perhaps I should take a moment of your blog-reading time to express how impressed I’ve been with the progress made by those who are turning these in every week. I think your work this trimester has proved that the best way to learn how to write is, well, to write. If you don’t believe me, click on the “Student Blogs” link above, which will direct you over to our class Netvibes page where you can read the latest posts and see how far we’ve come.
Anyway, here are some humble suggestions for your writing this week:
- Analyze either story (“Sleepy Hollow,” “Rip Van Winkle”) or its characters from the perspective of one of the “Americanist” terms we developed in class. Be sure to clearly define the term (Work, Community, Pride, etc.) in your paper, apply your ideas to the text, give examples from your own experience that explain your views, and compare/contrast this week’s story with previous texts we’ve read. Also, take out the trash, do my laundry (hand-wash the delicates), go to the store for some milk, and don’t forget to pick up your sister form her tuba lessons at 6. (PS: Don’t read that last sentence–it will just confuse you.)
- Write a new chapter in the life of Rip Van Winkle. This time, he sleeps 230 years and wakes up in 2007. Tell the story in the first-person, from his perspective. Be sure to capture his “voice” by using the words and phrases he would use, and observing those details of life around him that he would be most interested in. Be sure to address the issue of “progress”: Does Rip approve of the changes that have occurred in America? Does he care?
- “Nature,” plays a huge role in both of these stories. Irving almost makes “Nature” itself into a willful entity in its own right. Quote passages that show the character and “purpose” of Nature in Irving’s stories, and then, well, say something about it, I guess. What should you say? Don’t ask me, I’m just the teacher.
- How might either or both of these stories help early citizens of the United States to cope with the nightmare of war they had just lived through? How does each story convey meaning and purpose to people who might feel a bit traumatized and confused after the brutally violent revolution of which they were first-hand witnesses? Do the stories serve a “mythical” function to create meaning and convey values to citizens of the new republic?
That’s all I can think of for now. It’s not like I have all day to sit around pondering this kind of stuff. I’m sure you can think up something better, but if not, I give these topics to you, free of charge.
How can I be so generous?
I guess I’m just a really, really good person. Yeah, it feels nice.